Tag Archives: Bayram

2012 – A Review Part 3 – July to September

July

Come July the weather was getting really hot.  July and August are not months Boats-at-Ahmetbeylifor strenuous activity.  When we had nothing else to do we took to heading to the beach at around 4pm and cooling down in the sea for a couple of hours.  We continued to do this through August, making use of beaches at Pamucak, Ahmetbeyli, and Claros.

We were aware that the islands were likely to be cooler, and Hilary had never been to Santorini, so a trip to Greece happened.  We got the bus to Marmaris and hopped on a ferry to Rhodes.  A week later we came back on the ferry from Kos to Bodrum.  The trip was a lot of fun, an overnight stay in Rhodes, then on to Crete.  After a couple of days in Chania, from whence we walked SamaGorge-1ria Gorge which was amazing, we moved on to Heraklion visited the museum which is being redeveloped, and then on to Santorini.  We went to Akrotiri, the museum with the murals, hired a quad ATV, stuffed ourselves on Santorini Fava, and generally did the tourist thing.  We even managed to find a reasonably priced restaurant with ‘the’ view.

Ramazan started in July and went on into August.  We were not fasting, but many people around us were. It must have been pretty tough for those fasting, the days were hot and very long.  The beach at Ahmetbeyli was a lot quieter, it is pretty hard to swim and avoid getting seawater in your mouth.  We generally avoided eating on the roof terrace until after sunset, not really a problem, if was a lot cooler and more pleasant for eating after sunset.

August

By early August we decided that we wanted a portable air conditioning unit for the back house.  It was day after day of temperatures around 37C, and remaining really hot at night.  It took us a little while to get the unit we wanted, there were delivery problems, but eventually it arrived.  We mostly used it at night, to help us sleep.

For us the beach remained the place to be in the late afternoon, a chance to get a break from the heat.

We took another trip south to the Mediterranean coast.  To Uçağız which is spectacular.  We walked to Kaleköy, not far, but in the blistering heat i180812Bt was tough enough.  We chartered a boat to take us to Kekova and to various other places (mostly swimming places).  We shared the boat with two really pleasant French tourists who like us wanted no music.  We swam, snorkelled in some amazingly clear water, walked to Aperlae – it was a fantastic day out.

Later in August on of Ashley’s crowns fell out.  We went back to the local dentist who had fixed it the last time.  The problem was that the tooth beneath it had broken so the solution was not going to be so simple.  We were given various options and various costs for the options.  In the end we opted for having a whole load of work done, very much the same as what was planned on the NHS before we left the UK, crowns and bridges. This work went on for a few weeks, it was traumatic, but worth it.

September

Remaining on health issues, in September we became eligible to buy into the state health insurance scheme.  For us this represented very good value, because the one policy covers both of us.  It did mean that once again we had to go through the bureaucracy of state, was a couple of days of running back and forth to Tire and offices in Selçuk.

We got a phone call from the police inviting us to attend the police station in relation to Ashley’s application for a Turkish driving licence which he made last June.  We went, filled out some more forms, Ashley had a blood test for grouping, paid some charges at the tax office, and the back to the police station for fingerprints.  A day later we were called again and told the licence was ready for collection. Ashley now has 2 driving licences, his UK one and his new Turkish one.  Unlike the UK one it is for life.

Frank, a friend of ours had by chance booked a last minute week in Gumbet.  He abandoned Gumbet for a few days and came to stay with us.  We showed him around Ephesus and did a few other tourist bits.

We contracted a local builder to convert our basement into a garage.   The work was done over a weekend because during the week he was busy doing restoration work on the castle.  The window was moved, a new door fitted, and a ramp made for the bike.  It is a much more sensible use of this space and made us clear a load of stuff we had stored (dumped) in there.

Our last road trip of the year took place over late September and into October.  To Eğirdir.  We used Eğirdir as a base to visit Sagalassos, and had plansagalassos6ned at least one other trip out.  Sagalassos was amazing.  The other planned day trip ended up with us sat in the local sanayı having the rear wheel respoked.  Not what we had planned.  We will be going back to Eğirdir next year, there is more we want to see in the area and it is so beautifully located, the sunset over the lake was particularly good.

There and Back Again

We just took our first trip back to the UK.  The reasons for that were in a previous post.  It was, of course, good to see family and attend Gaelcon (a huge Irish Games convention).  It was, of course, necessary to consign our 15 boxes to the shippers (and pick up some warmer clothes).  It was, also, sadly, necessary to take the Harley to the dealership.  As we’ve posted previously, bringing vehicles out here from the UK on a permanent basis is next to impossible (we believe it helps to be of State Retirement age but, with the UK  State pensionable age rising by the nanosecond, we’re looking at 5 years at the soonest which is a long time for the bike to be sitting in Ashley’s mother’s garage).  On the plus side it was lovely weather for the ride from Luton to the Kings Road and the autumn colour on the trees was fabulous.  We managed to get everything done and spend time with family and some friends.  But I did find it very strange.

I am not sure that I was ready to go back to the UK.  Everything here is still very new and exciting and I am really enjoying watching the seasons change, following the round of seasonal activity going on around me.  I missed two weeks of this.  The clocks have gone back and the sun goes down earlier because of that, because of the turning of the year and because it now goes down behind one of the higher mountains.  When we first came out it went down just to the left of the castle.  Whilst we were away the leaves fell off the tree that obscures our view of the castle.  So we can now see the whole of the castle.  Until the leaves come back.

Apart from friends and family there is nothing I was missing about the UK.  I don’t miss the UK food.  Well, OK, I am extremely fond of masala dosai.  Which I didn’t manage to get whilst in the UK.  We just didn’t get a chance to hit the Palm Palace in Southall.  We did have an excellent meal in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Hitchin and some very good gourmet pub grub and Italian food in Willesden.  The Queens Park / Kensal Rise area has come up a long way in the world since my childhood.  Though I did keep pointing at buildings and informing Ashley ‘there used to be a cinema there’.

We arrived home fairly late on 5th November.  We had left a bottle of wine in the fridge.  We ate some cheese and some olives.  We could have eaten nuts but I think we forgot we had them.  This was fine (we had a burger at Gatwick).  We drank the wine.  We soaked barbunya.  We lit the calor gas.  It was good to be home…

Negative points about being home included the (probable) cat blood all over the roof terrace.  It looked like some poor injured creature had dragged itself back and forth and all over the cushions.  It took a lot of scrubbing to get it off.  Dead flies everywhere.  Easy enough to dispose of dead flies but they have been replaced by live ones.  We have no idea where they come from.  No  fresh food in the house on Sunday and everything shut.    Except one fruit and veg man on the market square opposite Tansas and, fortunately for us, the chicken shop.  We bought aubergines and water melon, as well as foods you might well expect in this season (mandolins, beetroot, carrots).  Yes, it’s November.  We have eaten well.

No one, so far, has given us meat for Bayram.  Though 7 local children have been round – not sure what they were wanting.  The first lot (three little girls) got mandolins and the second lot (four young boys, who very properly kissed my hand and raised it to their foreheads) got dried apricots.  They seemed surprised.  I wasn’t really expecting visitors for this Bayram and am still not sure what they were expecting (it was clear they were expecting something).  A truck comes round regularly playing loud music and collecting sheep skins.

Iyi Bayramlar

It is a good job we bought a kilo of assorted boiled sweets from the market, they are going at an alarming rate as the local children descend on us.  They started at about 9am, there may have been some earlier callers but sleep won. From 9am until around midday there was a fairly continual flow of children (some on second visit).  The sweets were received well and after wishing each other Iyi Bayramlar they were off to try their luck with neighbours.

Along with the children were the drums.  The Ramazan drummers were wandering around town banging loudly.  The drums went on until around midday and then seemed to stop.  They never made it along our street, or maybe they did after we had gone out.

We went out around midday having sweets we got from Dugba (a local shop specialising in sweet things of many varieties) to deliver to friends.  The stroll into town was pleasant, it remains cooler than of late.  Many people were dressed in their fineries, off to visit family and consume more sweet things.  We were stopped by some more children, gave away more boiled sweets which we had shoved in our pockets for this eventuality.  The children we met in what is supposed to be ‘the bad part of town’ were the most polite.  They kissed our hands and held them to their foreheads in traditional manner.  Some of the local children loudly and insistently demand money (which we are not handing over and, according to our neighbours, we are right to give sweets, not money).  We walked over to the castle which has been decorated for Bayram.  Or possibly Victory Day (since they coincide this year).

Back home in the afternoon the flow of children seemed to have reduced.  It was quiet.  We cooked  for the evening.   That all got finished quite early and stored in the fridge whilst we went for a walk into town in the cool of the evening.  Had a beer and people watched.

After dinner we plucked up the courage to take a box of sweets to our neighbours.  We were sat down and plied with baklava and Coca Cola.  Introductions were made – they can manage ‘Ashley’ but I don’t think Hilary is easy to pronounce in Turkish.  We had a longish conversation and, I think, understood each other reasonably well.  We know that they have three sons and we know what those sons are doing.  We understand that there are many people from Macedonia in our neighbourhood – our neighbours included.  We were told that the Wednesday market will not be happening during Bayram (useful knowledge) and that we need to learn Turkish so that we can bargain for a reasonable price.

A good day.  Iyi Bayramlar.

Late August in Selçuk

There are two activities taking place all around us this week.  People are whitewashing their walls and cleaning their carpets.  We’re in two minds whether to clean the kilims – we could support the local economy by taking them to a local expert.  We can’t whitewash the walls because, for now, we are only renting.  We have participated in the general sweeping of the street but we can’t reach out the front with the hose.  The communal bins have been moved repeatedly and are now back where they started.

We can’t tell whether all this activity is taking place in preparation for Bayram or whether it occurs at around the end of August every year.   Our preparations for Bayram (to date) involved making sure all necessary letters were posted, making sure we have enough cash  to last until they restock the machines assuming a worst case scenario and laying in a stock of sweets from the market for when the local children come to call.

We still have some other things to do before Bayram, getting sweets of some sort for friends.  We know we should bake but we don’t have any flour yet, let alone the right kind of bakeware.  The shops should be open tomorrow morning.  We are not quite sure what time things may close down tomorrow (or for how many days) so a morning shopping trip for a few more supplies seems a good plan.  This has now been slightly complicated because we now need to wait in first thing in the morning for a delivery of a new bottle of cooking gas.  Yes, at some point it had to go, and, as expected, it went when we were cooking something complicated.

Other places, we hear, are seeing signs of autumn.  There are not many of those apparent here.  Oh, the storks have gone to wherever they go for the winter – they’ve been gone a couple of weeks now.  The maximum temperature according to the forecast remains in the high thirties (38, to be precise) for the next five days with the minimum hovering around 20.  Other forecasts have the temperatures a bit lower, here’s to hoping.  Thundery showers are forecast over the next couple of days.  We’re looking forward to watching the storm from our terrace.  If it happens.  And, we think, the mornings are a little cooler a little longer and the cooling off towards evening is somewhat more noticeable.